Public art installation delivers powerful suicide message in Hampshire
A 6ft tall public art installation raising awareness of youth suicide has been unveiled outside Winchester Cathedral on World Mental Health Day.
The installation is a sand timer that revolves every 40 seconds, reflecting global statistics that every 40 seconds someone ends their life by suicide. A counter marks every revolution to reflect just how many lives this represents.
Within the sand timer there are 161 balls. These represent the 161 children and adolescents under the age of 19 years old who ended their life by suicide in 2020 in England. The 113 orange coloured balls represent the 113 boys who ended their lives and the 48 purple coloured balls represent the number of girls who ended their lives by suicide.
Organised by Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), which is provided by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, the project has been jointly funded by Sussex Partnership's official charity, Heads On, and Ringwood Round Table.
Helen Dove, Innovation and Participation Lead at Hampshire CAMHS, said: "Public art is a very powerful way of getting important messages out. No message can be more important than raising awareness about suicide. We want to draw attention whilst encouraging kindness and compassion and providing information about where people can seek help.
"While this event raises awareness of suicide, and will hopefully encourage people to have that first conversation, it is also important to consider those who might be impacted. A variety of support and signposting will be on offer at the sand timer installation for anyone in crisis and/or coping with the aftermath of suicide."
Amongst those speaking at the event were Barbara Deacon, whose daughter Bryony ended her life suicide 10 years ago. She has since become involved with the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide charity in Hampshire. She said: "Having collaborated with CAMHS in the past, I have always appreciated the work they do and in particular their efforts to raise awareness of suicide and reduce the stigma.
"Having just had the 10th anniversary of my daughter Bryony's death, I felt privileged to speak about her and the legacy she has left me in making meaning of her death in my work with Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide and also with Hampshire Voices: A Collective of People with Living Experience of Suicide."
The installation is outside Winchester Cathedral for four weeks, along with signposting and help available for those who are in a mental health crisis. After that it's hoped the sand timer will tour the county at other venues.
For more information about Hampshire CAMHS and the services they provide for children and young people, go to hampshirecamhs.nhs.uk.
If you are interested in hosting the sand timer in a public location please contact Helen Dove on helen.